Check-in with Google Glass

Personalized experience is something that every service industry strives to offer to its customers. Calling your customer by name on the first meeting is certainly a strong point when creating a positive marketing experience. But imagine this: You walk into the Heathrow Airport, and before you can utter a word, the lady in red and wearing chic futuristic glasses, greets you using your first name. You are certainly pleased. But eyebrows are raised when she tells you about your exact flight schedule without even checking your passport. She talks about the weather and locales of your travelling destination while completing the check-in formalities. You are dumbstruck. No, your mom is not going to pinch you and wake you up at this moment; because you are not dreaming! British carrier Virgin Atlantic, in collaboration with Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch, are testing this unique approach with their upper class passenger segment.

Google Glass is technological attire with an optical display mounted on your head and worn as a pair of glasses. It uses voice commands to browse the Internet, with the wearer having hands-free comfort to use the smartphone-like features of this new wearable computer. It is designed as an askew headgear, and currently offered by Google to only a small group of people in the US and UK. These guys are exclusive users of the Glass technology and hence proudly referred to as “Explorers”. Flashing a $1500 price tag, Google Glass is not yet a pocket-friendly product for the masses. Nevertheless, the explorers are keeping the general public excited and reassured that something so weird and nerdy can be carried on our heads while carrying out a daily routine. Though initially labelled as a headband suitable only for cyborgs, the good-looking air stewards are sure to change this perception. The recent tie-up with Ray-Ban and Oakley frames has also given a much needed style-quotient to an otherwise geeky look.

 After serving the doctors, schoolteachers and students, it is time for the aviation industry to flirt with this new technology and to bring back some much needed hedonism to the air traveller’s flying experience. With the British carrier’s recent initiative at Heathrow Airport, the excitement and futuristic appeal of Glass has increased manifold. If the boffins are able to provide the desired breakthrough, this service is sure to be explored at other airports and by various airlines. Even the kind of information provided will move gradually from customised to personalised and even further, to individualised category. Eating, drinking and sleeping patterns of the passengers will all be known to the cabin crew. That is when you won’t mind paying that extra dough for a first-class class ticket.

The world is changing and new technology is entering new market space every passing hour. With each new entrant we have our privacy settings reset to ‘vulnerable’, so we never know if these explorers are just showing off their gadgets or maybe they are using the ‘blink to click’ function for capturing pictures and making videos. Right now it is not about how the world look when wearing Google Glass, instead it is about why the whole world is looking at the one wearing it.

Coming up next: Withdrawing cash through ATMs made easy by Google Glass, Glass technology makes its way into US Air Force; Bars and Pubs ban Glass over privacy concerns.